2015, edited by Alison Attrill, @ 278 pages
We live online more and more. In the study of psychology this has resulted in the growth of a whole new field of psychology, “cyberpsychology”. While some may say this is just the latest in a series of new buzz words, it is accurate to observe that humans are spending more and more time on line. Humans also behave in a variety of ways too, some similar to how they behave in day to day, face to face existence, but in many other ways humans often behave differently in an online setting.
This book is an overview tour through the whole emergent field of human psychology online, hence the title ‘cyberpsychology’. Trolling is a clear example of how people feel able to behave in different ways to how they do in face to face interactions with other people. Clearly the anonymous, or pseudo anonymous personas enable people to feel able to say much more unvarnished and critical comments than they would feel able to in person.
The book covers a range of topics, from how we present ourselves on line, how we behave, interact and communicate with others. From there it also addresses cybercrime, online bullying, health psychology, online addictive behaviour, online security and privacy. For those unfamiliar with these topics this book provides a useful starting point into learning more about these areas. There is an extensive reading list for each chapter, with numerous references to online and physical resources to understand in more detail.
This book is aimed at upper-level undergraduates and postgraduate students of cyberpsychology. However with the massive level of social media usage among that age group you would wonder if some of this was of more of an entry level of information. On numerous occasions an interesting topic is raised, which then raises questions for the reader. However these are not really debated or engaged with, rather the book briskly moves on to the next topic. It would have been interesting for example to have considered in more depth why trolling reaches a vicious level of abuse so quickly.
Overall it is a useful book and one that will probably appear in numerous college reading lists. For later editions it might be interesting to include a few case studies, and a survey of some of the thornier issues around how humans wish to behave differently online to offline.